Stricter rules on piercings, tattoos may soon be in place in Columbia County

Tattoo artists in Columbia County must submit to stricter guidelines and more inspections under an ordinance approved Tuesday by the county commission.

The measure requires tattoo parlor owners, tattoo artists and body piercers to apply for licences renewed annually by the county Health Department. To obtain a license, artists must undergo training in CPR, first aid, universal blood-borne precautions and tattoo infection controls.

Tattoo parlors and artists must submit to county health inspections twice a year to make sure instruments are sterilized, the premises are clean, and artists and piercers are licensed.

Before the ordinance, parlors were not subject to inspections.

State law does not allow artists to tattoo clients within an inch of their eyes or tattoo anyone younger than 18. The law also forbids body piercing anyone younger than 18 without parental consent.

New ordinances must undergo a second reading and vote by commissioners before implementation. Second readings typically win approval.

Commissioners will vote again on the ordinance at their next meeting March 15.

Emergency and Operations Director Pam Tucker noted Tuesday that officials have worked on the ordinance for about a year, and it was written with the cooperation of tattoo artists and parlor owners.

Should the ordinance win a second approval, county environmental health specialist Andrea Frazier said last week that the Health Department will guide parlors through a mock inspection and give artists a copy of the ordinance.

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